British Columbia

1st monkeypox case identified in B.C.

A case of monkeypox, a virus that until recently has been rarely found outside of Africa, has been confirmed in a Vancouver resident.

Case detected in Vancouver resident, health authority conducting public health follow-up

A negative stain electron micrograph shows a mulberry-type monkeypox virus particle. (CDC)

The first confirmed case of monkeypox has been identified in B.C., in a Vancouver resident. 

B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) epidemiologist Mayank Singal told CBC the individual had recently travelled and was a contact of another person with a confirmed case of monkeypox. Singal declined to comment on where this person had travelled or provide any other details about them out of concern for their privacy.

The BCCDC says Vancouver Coastal Health is conducting a public health follow-up. 

Monkeypox symptoms include fever, rash, swollen lymph nodes, headaches and fatigue and can present anywhere from five to 21 days after exposure. 

It spreads through contact with sores and items like bedding or towels with the virus on them and through respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing during prolonged close, face-to-face contact with a person who has monkeypox. Singal said it's not transmitted as easily as COVID-19.

The BCCDC says the risk of contracting monkeypox remains low.

"Be aware of the symptoms of monkeypox, but certainly at this point, there's no cause for concern of widespread transmission," Singal said.

As of June 4, more than 780 cases of the virus had been confirmed in countries where monkeypox is not typically seen, according to the World Health Organization. At least 77 of those are in Canada.

The BCCDC says global infections are primarily among men who have sex with other men, however, the virus can affect anyone through close contact.

Anyone who develops symptoms of monkeypox is advised to see a doctor, wear a mask, cover any lesions and let the clinic know their symptoms ahead of arrival. 

With files from Jon Hernandez